BEAUTIFUL ‘OFFICIAL’ SPANISH BINDING

Tractatus de officio gubernationis…regni Aragonum (with) Tractatus de officio in criminalibus…secundum foros Aragonum.

Zaragoza, Lorenzo de Robles, 1592.

£4,500

FIRST EDITIONS. Folio. Two works in one, pp. (viii) 1-184 (iv) 185-244 [246] (xxvi), separate t-p to each. Roman letter, with Italic, double column. Attractive armorial device of Kings of Aragon to t-ps, floriated initials. First gathering and a few ll. slightly browned, faint marginal water stains in places, marginal foxing, clean horizontal tear without loss at p. 125, lower outer blank corner of p. 157 torn, inner margin of p. 177 restored, fore-edge of four ll. slightly trimmed. A good copy in contemporary Spanish limp vellum, yapp edges, one gold silk tie, double ink ruled border, large gilt fleurons to corners, centre panel with double ink ruled lozenge, gilt arms of Aragon, crown above, edges sprinkled red. Spine in four compartments, gilt rosette to each, raised bands, inked lettering. C20 presentation inscriptions to fly, early underlining throughout.

The elegant armorial binding, unusual for law books, bears the same variation of the Aragon arms (first quarter: Cross of Íñigo Arista, second: St George’s cross with four severed Moors’ heads, third: the Bars of Aragon) as another copy of the same work preserved at the Diputación Provincial de Zaragoza (F.A.49). The archive includes records from the Diputación del Reino de Aragón (1364-1708), an institution concerned with administrative and financial policy. It was heavily involved in the administration of justice, as the king could not pass any laws without its approval, as well as in the settling of legal disputes between social groups. The present copy was used for reference by members of the Diputación (or ‘diputados’) involved in legal administration—one of whom underlined numerous passages throughout—among whom were representatives of the ecclesiastical authorities, the nobility, universities and cities.   

Good copy of the first edition of two legal manuals of the Kingdom of Aragon written by Juan Ibando de Bardaxí y Almenara (d.1586), a lawyer from Zaragoza and councillor in the Real Chancillería. After his death, his brother—professor of law—edited and published Juan Ibando’s numerous mss held in the archives of the Diputación del Reino. The ‘Tractati’ were two of many ‘national’ legal manuals produced in C16 Spain by private initiative on the basis of everyday professional practice. The first explains the origins, appointments and duties of the ‘procurator general’ or ‘governor general’, an officer dealing with fiscal, administrative and political questions in the king’s absence and traditionally entrusted to the second in line to the throne. The second part examines the procurator’s authority in the area of criminal justice, and the statutes regulating accusation, capture, interrogation, detention and trial (also in absentia). Both works engaged with long-standing debates on the relationship between royal power and the Aragonese authorities; its legal interpretation, influenced by Castilian custom, had been strongly criticised, especially in Zaragoza.

USTC 334925; Palau y Dulcet (2nd ed.) 24115. Not in BM STC Sp. J.M. Arrizabalaga, ‘La edición y constitución de normas en la historia del Derecho de Aragón’, Anuario de Historia del Derecho Español, 80 (2010), 11-56.

L2861

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